You wouldn´t expect it, but Peruvianas are really into Bollywood. Take for example, a woman whom we ate lunch with at Huahlva yesterday. Her favorite Hindi movie is Krrish. Every movie stall I have seen has a few Hindi films, and fairly recent ones too. Today we went to an Internet cafe where the two posters plastered on the wall were none other than our very own Shah Rukh Khan and Aishwarya Rai. It is not something I expected so see, that our film industry has reached the tiniest villages in Peru.
Most of the afternoon was spent at a place that celebrates Sundays. The weekly local market in Huancayo is the longest one in Peru. Craftspeople sell their wares to locals and tourists alike. There are blocks and blocks of white tents on either side of Giraldez Street. We went on the left side and spent two hours in what was only half of the market. I felt comfortable enough to sample foods that appeared to be hygenic. Meal-wise, I didn´t see many non pollo (chicken) options, but dessert I could never refuse. A frozen concoction of creamy milk and coconut reminded me of Naniji´s laddoos; condensed milk rolled into shredded coconut. I´m salivating again.
Dinner consisted of chaufa once more. Fried rice has been my saviour here in Peru, because it allows me to be vegetarian without being hungry. Restaurants can up the dosage of veggies if they know you´re a no-meat person.
Soon after dinner, we collected our things from Abuela´s and headed to the Molinas bus stop to catch the overnight to Ayacucho. On the way, a kebab stand caught Nikhil´s eye. Most of the sizzling tray was taken up by meat, but a few slabs of potato led to all three of us getting a taste, Nikhil going for the meat. The best part about the crunchy snack was the zesty green chutney generously slabbed on each piece of potato. It had a strong pudina (minty) taste and a slight spice which made me greedy for more. Ten minutes before our bus was leaving, Nikhil rushed back to the stand to get seconds. Yes, it really was that good.
The last overnight bus experience had been a pleasure, and this one started out that way. The sky was clear and strewn with stars, lots of them. I had never seen anything quite like it. In the Northern Hemisphere, it is rare ifI catch Orion´s Belt, but this...this is the stuff planetariums show you, but in real life. The urge to get off the bus and sleep under the galaxy above did come to me, but I resisted the temptation.
So the first hour of the bus ride was great, until I fell asleep. Every bump, every thump, every sharp turn, every rock the bus rolled over snapped me out of what could only be called an attempt at slumber. There was a point on the eight hour drive when I finally dozed off. It was an hour later that we reached our destination. I woke up to "Billie Jean" blasting on the speakers.
It was 3 am. The hostel we intended to stay at was gated shut. So we did what anyone would do: we walked to the central plaza, sat on a bench, and waited for the city to wake up.